A recent post at abundantcommunity.com highlighted the often overlooked giftedness of teens within a community. We read in the local paper about “troubled youth” and the rising concern over teen apathy, but many teens have found ways to add to the neighborhood story in a positive way. (And, my guess is that many more would join in if given the opportunity).
The post, written by Laura Fulton, points out the value and energy that teenage youth and enthusiasm can bring to a neighborhood, and five ways to start the process of connecting with teens in your area. One commenter said that teens in her neighborhood are employed to do community listening and connecting. Imagine a part-time job where a teen’s voice and ideas are heard, creativity and socializing are viewed as gifts, and relationships and leadership skills are formed. Sounds like a perfect match!
Teens today are often typecast as surly, disinterested, and uninformed. I challenge you to talk to a teen in your neighborhood. Ask about their interests, about what they see that works and doesn’t work, and what they would do to change things. Listen. Listen. Listen for their gifts and passions, and begin to rewrite the character description of young people in your neighborhood’s story.